Pettitte: ‘I wasn’t real happy with the contract’


This probably comes as little surprise to Yankee fans, but Andy Pettitte, in an interview with the L.A. Times today expressed his displeasure with the way his off-season negotiations with the Yankees ended up last winter. The veteran lefty made it clear that he wanted to return to the Yanks, but Brian Cashman and the New York brass, concerned about Pettitte’s shoulder strength, offered him a low base salary with high incentives. Although Pettitte stands to earn nearly $10 million total this year, he felt slighted by the Yanks over the winter. He is, however, over it. “I think everybody knows I wasn’t real happy with the contract,” Pettitte said. “But I wanted to take it and come back here and have a chance to do this. It’s nice to have things work out the way you think they’re going to work out. This is what I was kind of hoping for.”

The Yankees and Pettitte will probably engage in a similar dance this off-season but with a few different assumptions. Pettitte has certainly earned himself a higher base salary for 2010, and I’m sure the Yankees will keep the door open for Number 46 if he wants to return. I wonder, though, if Pettitte might retire if the Yankees win the World Series. Five rings fills up a hand.

Categories : Asides, Pitching


  1. Accent Shallow says:

    I’d love to have Andy back as long as he can pitch and they have space for him, and it sure looks like that will be the case in 2010.

    He’s made noise about retiring for years, but I’ll believe it when I see the press conference.

  2. I definitely think he’ll retire if they win the WS. I could be wrong, obviously, but that’s my gut feeling.

    If he doesn’t, I could see them offering him one year, $10-12MM base, with a chance to kick it up to ~$15MM w/incentives.

    • The Artist says:

      Nah, I think he’s adopted his old buddy Roger Clemens’ contract negotiation strategy for aging pitchers. Keep leaning toward retirement until they add some $$ to the deal, then announce you’re coming back in February.

      • Ed says:

        It’s not working well for him. The first time he did it he declined a $16 million player option then signed a few weeks later for the same value.

        Last year they offered $10 million and he turned that down and ended up with far less guaranteed, although with the chance of up to $12 million.

        Besides, he’s consistently making the #1 worst move he could make – announcing that he will not consider playing for another team, thereby removing all incentive for the Yankees to make him a fair market offer.

        The guy certainly can pitch, but he’s an idiot at negotiations.

  3. The Artist says:

    I posted this over at TYU this morning, but watching the post game I was amazed at how veteran pitchers like AJ and CC said they leaned on Andy for guidance this postseason. I certainly hope they bring him back, I’m still not sure Hughes/Joba will be ready. Wang is a total wild card, if they even bring him back at all it will likely be a minor league deal.

  4. Mike bk says:

    i think next year is CC/AJ/Andy/Joba/Phil with Gaudin as the fill-in/swing starter for when phil pushes up on his innings limit. they have to handle the innings limit thing better with him than they did with Joba. this will sound like a slight to joba, but i mean more in praise of phil that i think he can mentally adjust to being skipped better so they dont have a bunch of 3 inning outings to control the innings.

  5. Dela G says:

    They should give him the wakefield treatment

    a recurring mutual option deal that keeps on rolling until he wants to retire

    give him 7 million + 5 million incentives every year until he decides to hang em up

  6. Ed says:

    5 rings is nice, but 6 is better. This team is ready to dominate for years, and that’s got to have appeal.

    Pettitte seems to be the most sentimental of the old 90′s guys – he’s always the one organizing the group photos of the old guys. Jeter, Posada, and Mo are all under contract for at least one more season each, so I could see him wanting to stay as long as those guys are still around.

    • Dela G says:

      there are probably ENTIRE TEAMS that have their entire 25 roster with less than 5 rings. I would give anything just to have one.

      My little brother has an NL Championship ring from being an astros bat boy during the world series

    • Tank Foster says:

      This team is ready to dominate for years, and that’s got to have appeal.

      Kinda, but not really. Dominating for years is next to impossible. Everything has to go right. Andy knows next season could be a struggle to make the wild card.

      I think it will come down to the plain and simple question of how he feels and how much he loves competing. I don’t think he’ll pitch anywhere but for the Yankees, and I don’t think he’ll turn down any reasonable deal IF he decides he wants to pitch. He’ll definitely be offered a higher guaranteed salary than this year.

  7. iYankees says:

    Andy can be mad if he wants to, but it’s his fault, really. When you say you’re either going to retire or return to the Yankees, you really don’t give yourself much room for bargaining power. He has earned his keep, though, and should receive at least $10 million in 2010.

    • He actually said as much last night during the post-game show interviews. He knows he backed himself into a bit of a negotiating corner by showing his Yankee-only cards too soon.

      • And the problem is, you can’t really put the toothpaste back in the tube. We all know he’s not going to Houston, they’re a trainwreck. He can make overtures to LA and rejoining Torre, but I don’t buy that as truly possible either.

        He’s coming back or retiring again this offseason, just like last. The die is cast.

        • Ed says:

          I don’t see him leaving this year, but he had zero intention of leaving the Yankees in ’03. That offseason was all emotion – he didn’t like the way the Yankees negotiated, and his hometown team made an at the right time so he took it.

          If Cashman tries to lowball him on the guaranteed money and Joe Torre makes a phone call when Pettitte is really upset, I could see it happening. I don’t think it’s likely to play out that way, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

      • Drew says:

        What about the mystery team with the three year offer on the table?

    • misterd says:

      It may be his fault, but he said it in good faith, not expecting it to be used as a bludgeon against him. And look how many fans were ready to toss him out with the bath water because he didn’t jump at the Yankees’ first bone!

      Hopefully fans have learned their lesson and will be a bit more understanding of Andy’s situation this off season.

      HAHAHAHAHAHA! I’m just kidding. They’ll turn on him like last month’s milk.

  8. JSquared says:

    In the second half of the season, Andy was 6-3. 87.0 IP 78 K’s 3.31 ERA 1.20 WHIP. I like that. Come Back ANDY!!

  9. Mike bk says:

    anyone think maybe andy is doing something similar to moose last year where he was counted out, came back and proved he could still perform at the highest level and then go out that way? especially if he gets a ring.

  10. I hope Andy comes back for multiple reasons, but among them, the CC-AJ-Hughes-Joba-Gaudin rotation would be rife for bullpen overtaxation.

    We can’t start CC on 3 days’ rest every time, y’know…

  11. Matt M. says:

    After a line of 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 6K, 1 BB on the brightest stage so far this year, this the Hendricks Brothers fighting back for the leverage that they squandered last year.

    If her turns in an adequate WS performance, his agents will be able to walk in and demand a base of 10 million (with possible incentives to raise it further) without flinching.

  12. Tony says:

    Any thoughts that the Hammer of God might retire if they win?

  13. MikeD says:

    So riddle me this…if Pettitte wants to keep coming back on one-year contracts, why shouldn’t he demand to be paid more than A.J., and why wouldn’t the Yankees pay?

    • Because

      A) AJ’s slightly better, and
      B) AJ’s more than slightly younger?

      • MikeD says:

        AJ is younger, but there is no evidence that AJ is better.

        The younger part is totally trumped by the one-year contract that Pettitte can request. A team like the Yankees can elect to “over pay” on a one year contract, so all things being equal, they should pay Pettitte more than they’re paying AJ.

        The Yanks got a great deal this year on Andy. If I’m Pettitte’s agent, I would not let this happen again.

        • Ed says:

          Agreed on your analysis.

          Also, AJ’s value would be diminished by his injury history. Pettitte has been in the majors 4 seasons longer than AJ, but he’s pitched 1343 more innings (not counting postseason innings). Despite the age difference, Andy’s more likely to hold up than AJ. Especially when you’re talking 1 year versus 5.

    • Ed says:

      It would be reasonable for him to demand more – he was near the top of the pay scale for pitchers when he first rejoined the Yankees. Shorter commitments generally get higher average annual values.

      But the Yankees aren’t going to pay him what he’s worth unless they seriously believe he’ll play somewhere else to get a higher payday. He killed his leverage in ’03 by turning down the Red Sox offer and stating he couldn’t play for the Sox after being a Yankee. He killed his leverage last year by telling the press it was Yankees or retirement. At this point, even if the team believed he was willing to play elsewhere, they’d probably also feel he’d take less to be a Yankee.

    • Because AJ’s salary is completely irrelevant. The only thing that’s relevant is what the Yanks, and other teams, offer to pay Pettitte. For example, if nobody offers him anything more than $10M/year the Yanks certainly don’t have to give him more than AJ makes just because Andy’s as good as AJ. The Yankees have to deal with Pettitte’s market value the same way they have to deal with any other player’s market value, not his (or any other player’s) value solely vis a vis AJ Burnett.

  14. Girardi out to the mound says:

    I expect Cash to have a very Theo Epstein type offseason (minus the ESPN lovefest of course). They will “be in” on every big name free agent (prob just to drive up the price), but not sign any of them except for their own guys and towards the end of free agency pick up a few low risk high reward guys.

  15. [...] to RAB for pointing out this interesting bit on Andy Pettitte in the LA Times (a Kevin Baxter [...]

  16. [...] to RAB for pointing out this interesting bit on Andy Pettitte in the LA Times (a Kevin Baxter [...]

  17. Wayne's World says:

    He’s got 10 fingers, though…plenty of room for more rings. When it comes down to it, these players who make noises about leaving often have the hardest time giving it up. See also: Bernie Williams.

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